Since the Accidental Locavore has been living in a cold and snowy climate (like most of us, I know), there’s been a lot of soup-making going on. To make good soup, you need good ingredients, and making your own stock will ensure that your soup will always taste great! Most people, myself included, think this is a lot of work, but in truth, it’s really easy, tastier and a lot less expensive than buying it ready-made. The last batch I made was about $2 for two quarts, versus $4 for a quart at the store.
Here are three ways — easy, lazy, and fast — to make your own:
- Easy: Just plop some chicken parts into a large pot with a lot of water (at least enough to cover the chicken) and let it simmer for an hour or two. Strain it and voila, chicken stock.
- Lazy: If that’s too much work for you, toss the chicken parts and water into a slow cooker. Cover and put on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5. Strain and voila!
- Fast: If you’re in a time crunch, put the chicken and water in a large microwave-safe container, cover and microwave on high for 20-30 minutes. Strain and voilà!
The other great thing is that you can use any kind of chicken parts (or a whole chicken). On the blog Smitten Kitchen, she has a recipe using only chicken wings. When I did it her way, the wings in my store were expensive, but a big bag of wing tips was really cheap and made great stock! The other day, no wing tips, but big packages of backs. I tossed them in a pot and realized after they’d finished cooking that I had a nice bunch of poached chicken backs and later, a very happy dog!
Adding onions, garlic, celery, carrots or herbs is always an option. I prefer to keep it simple — it’s more versatile that way. There are containers in different sizes to freeze my stock in, so I can grab what I need for a particular recipe. Labeling the containers helps, that’s why there’s a roll of blue painter’s tape and a Sharpie always in my kitchen. So, if you’ve never made your own stock, give it a shot.